Creativity and Follow-Through

Introduction

Ever wonder how you can become more creative?  Ever had an idea? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then it is possible for you to expand upon your creativity.  One of the perhaps most obvious ways to become more creative and come up with more ideas is through writing down ALL of your ideas.  Many of you might be saying to yourself, “Not all ideas I come up with are good though, do I still write them down?”  The answer is YES!  Writing down ideas helps you continuously come up with new ideas.  Some of those ideas might be duds, but the more you right them down, the chances increase of you jotting down a great idea someday (like most things it’s a numbers game).

Keep A Journal

About a year or two ago, I began writing down ALL of my ideas that I had every day.  Some days I would write down about 4 or 5 ideas and other days I might have written down no ideas.  The number of ideas that I would come up with in a given day certainly fluctuated (which is okay).  I keep all of my ideas in a journal and if for some reason I did not have the journal, I would jot down the idea on a scrap piece of paper, put it in my pocket and transfer the idea into the journal at a later time.  This is very important!  Use a journal or a notebook to keep all of your ideas in.  It is important to at least do this to record your “initial” ideas.  If for some reason you want to utilize your computer to start going into “in-depth” detail on your idea, then feel free to use whatever you would like at that point (Ex. computer, tablet, etc.).  The more that you write down your ideas on paper, the more that you will start to see how you will often begin thinking “outside-the-box.”  I really surprised myself with how many ideas I was coming up with when I continuously began writing them down.

Keeping With It

Like most things, it is important to note that you should “keep with it.”  Do not slack and not write down any ideas for days at a time (unless truly no ideas come to mind).  There was a time when I slacked writing down ideas for a few days and then a few days became a week or two.  At that point, you can almost feel yourself not being as creative as often as you probably would have been if you stuck with writing down your ideas.  Repetition is key!  If you want to have a nice free throw shot in basketball, what do you do?  You stand in front of a hoop and take shot after shot (repetition) until the shot is as close to perfection as possible (because nothing is truly perfect).  Once I began writing down ALL of my ideas again, I noticed my creativity began to rise once again (not sure if this is a proven scientific fact, but I believe so much that writing down ideas DOES increase creativity and idea volume).

Follow-Through

Once again, another basketball analogy; if you want to ensure the basket will go in the hoop how can you increase the probability that it will go in?  One of the acceptable answers is “you follow-through.”  Do not just write down all of your ideas and just leave them sitting in your notebook.  Be sure to take a look at these ideas (the duds and the intriguing ones) and sift through them a few times per week, month or year.  Place a star next to the ones that seem like they could become something.  If placing a star next to the good ideas is of no interest to you, then highlight them (do whatever you want to distinguish those ideas as the best ideas in your journal).  After you sift through many ideas, take a look at the good ideas and sift through them again at some point.  Pick 3-5 of the best ideas and start heavily looking into them.  If they resemble an idea that is already out there, then market research will probably be one of the next steps.  However, if after researching an idea it seems like your idea is very unique, it is probably time to start doing some validation (follow the lean startup method).

Conclusion

Ideas are great.  I personally believe that we need more ideas in the world.  If Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Bill Gates did not come up with brilliant ideas and follow-through with them, where would the world be today?  I do not even want to think about that answer.  Start writing down your ideas today and increase your creativity and volume of ideas.

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